Aisha Sasha John’s book I have to live. is a collection of poems that encapsulates a time spent alone. Her poems envelop what it is like to use yourself as your main friend, to talk to, tell secrets to, ask silly questions to. John writes in a way that is like an old friend is telling you about their recent life, in a beautiful, funny and honest way. Words and sentences she uses in her poetry, I can hear in my own thoughts. She writes in a way that she owns what she is saying and is humanness, which makes the reader connect to the work.
On page 48 of her book, John writes:
“I wonder if it’s sanitary
To leave the ketchup outside all the time.
At night, even.
And also the hot sauce.”
These lines were so simple yet made me feel engaged, because I then too started wondering about my ketchup, and my hot sauce. This pure and simple line encompasses what sharing a thought with yourself is like.
Another poem of Aisha’s that marked me, was her poem on page 61. This poem talks about her grandmother’s passing. I gravitated to the opening and ending lines of the poem most.
The opening reads:
“On the television
A woman carves from a stack of rice krispie squares
I enjoyed this because of the oddity of the imagery, and how it made you think about what she was watching.
And the ending lines:
“The next day my cousin sends me a message.
I read the message.
Then what I do is call my mother.
Now you don’t have any grandparents!”
John’s use of exclamation in the last line was interesting to me because it was a sad event, and feels as though she is trying to cope about her grandmother’s passing with humour. I think it resonated with me because I’ve heard people talk like this before, usually friends, or family. I think it’s a personal way to speak and show you’re feeling something, while not letting your guard down, as well as a common coping mechanism.
Lastly, on page 106, Aisha writes a poem about her new set of markers.
“So I have a brand new set of markers
And a couple bags of chips.
Yea, my hand is not steady
But my heart wet
Lend me your neck or your palm
And I will draw something ugly by accident.”
This poem is so tender; it is like an exclamation that she is ready and willing to share her love. The last two lines are especially tender,
Aisha’s writing style is comforting, hectic and real, which makes me enjoy her book a lot. It is as though a friend is letting you into their past and present.
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (April 11 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0771050704
- ISBN-13: 978-0771050701
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 200 g
- Customer Reviews: 2 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #374,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)